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OCEAN ISLE BEACH—Ocean Isle Beach officials and several representatives from neighboring towns came to hear U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre give an update on sand.
McIntyre and his family have made an Easter weekend trip to the Brunswick County coast an annual event.
On Thursday, March 28, his visit included lunch at Pogies Waterfront Bar and Grill to speak to three dozen attendees from towns including Ocean Isle Beach, Shallotte, Calabash and Sunset Beach, as well as a few officials from New Hanover and Pender counties.
“We are partners together. No one town, no one county can do anything by itself. We have to work as a team,” McIntyre said.
Introducing the founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Waterways Caucus, Ocean
Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith called McIntyre “Our Coastal Champion.”
McIntyre touted $305,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and protect Lockwood Folly Inlet in Brunswick County and Whiskey Creek in New Hanover County from future erosion.
Lockwood Folly will receive $185,000 for dredging in the inlet.
McIntyre advocated for funds to dredge and maintain the shallow draft inlets in recent meetings with assistant secretary of the Army for civil works Jo-Ellen Darcy.
“These inlets and waterways are a vital economic and recreational resource to our coastal communities. Proper dredging and upkeep of our inlets and waterways must always be a top priority, and I am pleased to announce the continued federal support for this effort. These funds will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to make critical repairs to our inlets and fortify them against future natural disasters,” McIntyre said when announcing the funding.
He told local leaders dredging the inlets and renourishing the beaches of Brunswick County are imperative for the local economy.
“These are economic engines,” he said.
“The three T’s in North Carolina are textiles, tobacco and tourism. Textiles and tobacco have been through some tough times the past couple years. Tourism got us through.”
McIntyre said dredging and beach renourishment is a win-win-win for the local area.
“Dredging opens the canals, offers great jobs and the sand has to go somewhere, so we made sure that sand went somewhere useful—on Brunswick County beaches,” he said.
McIntyre added when he was sworn back into Congress, he filed several bills to be able to dredge deeper, eight feet instead of four feet, to open areas such as the Shallotte River.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or email@example.com.